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Siegbert Tarrasch
Number of games in database: 945
Years covered: 1879 to 1933
Overall record: +441 -202 =256 (63.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      46 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (123) 
    C77 C67 C84 C66 C65
 French Defense (59) 
    C11 C10 C14 C01 C12
 Four Knights (39) 
    C49 C47 C48
 French (37) 
    C11 C10 C12 C00 C13
 Queen's Pawn Game (25) 
    D02 D05 A46 E10 A40
 Orthodox Defense (25) 
    D55 D53 D64 D63 D61
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (98) 
    C67 C77 C83 C80 C82
 French Defense (50) 
    C00 C01 C12 C11 C14
 French (33) 
    C00 C12 C11 C13
 Sicilian (33) 
    B40 B45 B23 B34 B24
 Tarrasch Defense (31) 
    D32 D34 D33
 Ruy Lopez, Open (30) 
    C83 C80 C82
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Nimzowitsch vs Tarrasch, 1914 0-1
   Tarrasch vs Romberg, 1893 1-0
   Tarrasch vs Allies, 1914 1-0
   Tarrasch vs E Thorold, 1890 1-0
   Tarrasch vs Reti, 1922 1-0
   Tarrasch vs K Eckart, 1889 1-0
   Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1914 1/2-1/2
   Tarrasch vs G Marco, 1892 1-0
   Spielmann vs Tarrasch, 1923 0-1
   Tarrasch vs Von Scheve, 1894 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Breslau (1889)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Vienna (1898)
   Monte Carlo (1903)
   Marshall - Tarrasch (1905)
   Ostend (Championship) (1907)
   Ostend (1905)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Hastings (1895)
   Nuremberg (1896)
   18th DSB Kongress (1912)
   San Sebastian (1912)
   Vienna (1922)
   Monte Carlo (1902)
   Semmering (1926)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Tarrasch's Dreihundert Schachpartien by Honza Cervenka
   Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess. Part I. by Dr. Siggy
   good games by sk.sen
   Praeceptor Mundi by chocobonbon
   Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess. Part III. by Dr. Siggy
   Vienna 1898 by suenteus po 147
   Ostend 1905 by suenteus po 147
   Monte Carlo 1903 by suenteus po 147
   Odds games by WhiteRook48
   Match Chigorin! by amadeus
   Chigorin - Tarrasch (match) by Akavall
   Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess. Part II. by Dr. Siggy
   99_Ostende A 1907 (Champion Tourn. to play Laske by whiteshark
   Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors Part 1 by MetalPlastic

   Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1914
   M Porges vs Lasker, 1896
   Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1914
   Tarrasch vs Von Scheve, 1894
   Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1896

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Siegbert Tarrasch
Search Google for Siegbert Tarrasch

(born Mar-05-1862, died Feb-17-1934, 71 years old) Germany

[what is this?]
Siegbert Tarrasch was born in Breslau. At 15, he learned the game of chess, and he shot to prominence quickly, winning four consecutive international tournaments such as Breslau (1889), Manchester in 1890 ( ), Dresden (1892) and Liepzig (1894). He won the Monte Carlo (1903) tournament. After his fellow countryman Emanuel Lasker won the World Championship, the two players agreed to terms for a match to take place in autumn of 1904, but the negotiations collapsed after Tarrasch requested a postponement. A Lasker-Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908) eventually happened, but by then Tarrasch was nearly fifty years old, and he was defeated by the score of +3 -8 =5. Despite this loss, Tarrasch was held in high regard throughout his career for his contributions to opening theory.

Tarrasch was an editor for Deutsche Schachzeitung, and also published Die Modern Schachpartie and Three hundred Chess Games.

Lines from both the Queen's Gambit and the French Defense are named after him. He is known for a guideline in Rook endings that Rooks generally serve their best purpose behind passed pawns. Many of his theories on the principles of mobility and other aspects of positional play still stand as well, and today guide players of all levels of ability.

Notes: Siegbert played consultation chess on the teams of Tarrasch / Von Bardeleben / Von Scheve / Schotlaender and Tarrasch / Harmonist / Heidebreck.

Wikipedia article: Siegbert Tarrasch

 page 1 of 38; games 1-25 of 945  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Tarrasch vs Mendelson 1-039 1879 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
2. Tarrasch vs F Riemann 0-118 1879 BreslauC67 Ruy Lopez
3. Tarrasch vs Mendelson 1-024 1879 BreslauB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
4. Tarrasch vs A Schottlaender 1-022 1879 BreslauC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
5. Tarrasch vs Mendelson 1-026 1879 BreslauA00 Uncommon Opening
6. Tarrasch vs Mendelson 1-032 1879 BreslauC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
7. Tarrasch vs A Schottlaender 0-124 1879 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
8. Tarrasch vs Mendelson 1-033 1879 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
9. Tarrasch vs Von Scheve 1-019 1879 BreslauB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
10. Tarrasch vs NN 1-011 1880 BerlinC50 Giuoco Piano
11. Tarrasch vs N Mannheimer 1-037 1880 BreslauC39 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Tarrasch vs N Mannheimer 1-027 1880 BreslauC55 Two Knights Defense
13. Tarrasch vs B Lasker 1-023 1880 BerlinC42 Petrov Defense
14. Tarrasch vs Mendelson 1-021 1880 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
15. Tarrasch vs N Mannheimer 1-028 1880 BreslauC42 Petrov Defense
16. Tarrasch vs Vogt 1-020 1880 Breslau000 Chess variants
17. Mendelson vs Tarrasch  0-146 1880 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
18. Von Scheve vs Tarrasch  0-130 1880 BresslauC30 King's Gambit Declined
19. Tarrasch vs W Cohn 1-027 1880 matchC11 French
20. Von Scheve vs Tarrasch 0-115 1880 BreslauC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
21. Tarrasch vs Vogt 1-024 1880 Breslau000 Chess variants
22. Tarrasch vs Mendelson  1-024 1880 BreslauC49 Four Knights
23. Tarrasch vs Pribulsky 1-030 1880 BerlinC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
24. Tarrasch vs W Cohn  1-029 1880 matchB44 Sicilian
25. F Riemann vs Tarrasch 1-041 1880 BreslauC30 King's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 38; games 1-25 of 945  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Tarrasch wins | Tarrasch loses  

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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Sally Simpson> <tamar> It's funny, apparently while you guys were convincing me that the simul game was legitimate I was sowing doubts in your minds...

It will be interesting to see what Sally S comes up with in the library, but in the meantime I thought I would do a little engine-work. Remember that we have two slightly different critical positions. In the 1900 simul game, the Black QR is at b7 (because black played 10....Rb8 11.Bxb7 Rxb7) and in the 1899 Lee game the rook is at a8 (because Black played 10....Bxc6 11.Nxc6 Qe8).

In the Lee game, had Black played 15....Qxg2, then 16.Qf3 is a lot stronger than Hoffer's recommended 16.Kd2, though White should be winning in either case.

As discussed earlier, after 16.Qf3 the strongest answer is ...Qg6. Presumably that is why Tarrasch added that White pawn at f5 in his pedagogical book.

In the simul game, on the other hand, there apparently really isn't much difference between 17.Kd2 (remember, the simul game has an extra move) and 17.Qf3.

In the Lee game, after 16.Kd2 Qxf2+ 17.Kc1 Kh8, if 18.Rg1, Black plays ...Rg8.

But in the simul game: 17.Kd2 Qxf2+ 18.Kc1 Kh8 19.Rg1 Rg8? is met by 20.Rxg8+ Kxg8 21.Qg4+ and mate next move.

The funny thing is, I thought the simul game (where the rook was on b7) was the product of score manipulation. Whoever cooked it up wanted the rook on b7 to rule out the ...Qg6 defense. But in fact, in the simul continuation, after 17.Qf3, 17....Qg6 is still Black's best move, though of course he's losing after 18.Qxb7 Qxh6 or the better 18.Bxf8, which leaves White up by a whole rook.

Bottom line --

I think both the simul and the tournament games are legit. I think Pillsbury would have found and played 16.Qf3 against Lee, given the chance. I think Pillsbury would have found and played 17.Qf3 in the simul, had he not been blindfolded, but in fact with Black's rook at b7 his 17.Kd2 was just about as good.

Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: Happy Birthday and RIP, Siggi, my first chess teacher (via his books)
Mar-05-14  jnpope: The Pillsbury-Newman game can be found in the North American, Philadelphia, 1902.01.06. It was given by Emil Kemeny in a column devoted to Pillsbury's blindfold play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi jnpope:,

I assume they give the score without the instructive Queen sac (Qf3). Any mention of it in the notes?

A possible scenario is in the old days it was common to give the whole games and then add the notes at the end.

So some lad noting up the Newman game mentions the Lee game in the notes.

"This is very similar to a game played a few months before. Pillsbury - Lee 1899. It is a pity Pillsbury missed 17.Qf3 Qxf3 18.Rg1+."

Or something along those lines.

To a foreign reader it appears like this.

xxxx x xxxx x xxx x xxxxx Pillsbury - Lee 1899 xxx xxxx x xxx 17.Qf3 Qxf3 18.Rg1+.

That may explain how the names got swapped and the bogus line added.

Don't laugh.

I did exactly that with a Russian magazine back in 1979 when I completely misunderstood what I was reading - it was a warning this is not good. (it was a 'sac this and sac that' line against the Polugaevsky Najdorf.)

I published the 'Bust' in my magazine 'CapaTal(sic) Chess.'

Ian Mullen, co-author of 'Blunder and Brilliancies' followed the line and had to scrounge a draw in a lost position v a 1600 player.

He was not too happy so we looked for improvements. I suggested a few tricks and traps and by pure fluke in my next tournament I played the same 1600 player.

So of course I played my line and I too had to scrounge a draw in a totally lost position.

True story, the names, dates and games are somewhere in an old 'CapaTal Chess.'

So it can happen, I know, I was that foreign lad.

Mar-05-14  jnpope: I did see some notes when I pulled the column out this morning, but I don't recall what they said. I'll scan the column tonight and add it to the Jack O'Keefe project at the Chess Archaeology website when I get home tonight.
Mar-05-14  jnpope: The game, without notes, can be found in the Chicago Tribune of 1900.05.06 also:
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <jnpope: The game, without notes, can be found in the Chicago Tribune of 1900.05.06 also:>...

Thanks, I guess that pretty much clinches it as far as authenticity is concerned. Interestingly, the correspondent describes Black's 19th (...Ne5) as "ill-considered," but he really doesn't have much of a choice with Qg4 coming up. Shredder couldn't think of a better move than 19....Qxg1 giving up the queen.

Mar-05-14  Penguincw: Happy Birthday to Siegbert Tarrasch! Too bad by the time he played Lasker, he was pretty much out of form. Would've been interesting to see him play just a few years earlier.
Mar-05-14  jnpope: I've uploaded January, 1902 of the North American to the CA website, there are only two notes to the Newman game by Kemeny, no mention of the Lee game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks again, <jnpope>.

The correspondent says that Pillsbury "saw" 17.Qf3 but preferred 17.Kd2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi.

I discovered that Gossip and Lee had written a book 'The Complete Chess Player' published 1907.

Gossip has a cloud hanging over him as a writer (claims that he invented games he won. He denied this.) So I was thinking Lee may have showed him his game v Pillsbury, mentioned the blindfold game and Gossip mixed them up.

The Edinburgh Club of course had a copy but I found nothing. ('cept quite a few Gossip games mixed up amongst the brilliancies. Bit of a strange lad Gossip, cetainly a chess character.)

The club has every British Chess Magazine so I searched in them.

I may have found the seed that planted the error.

BCM 1902 page 343 has the blindfold Pillsbury - Newman game where Qf3 was not played.

He played 20 'good players' blindfold (Newman was the current club champion) W.14 D.5 L.1 it took 7 hours and 35 minutes.

BCM 1906 page 440 and a Mr.F.W. Marwick is discussing opening traps and gives the Lee game (no names).

Now here.

click for larger view

Lee in the OTB game played 10...Bxc6.
Newman (in the blindfold game) played 10...Rb8.

Mr. Marwick reaches here:

click for larger view

Which is the actual position from the Lee game and says White now wins a pawn to see how look at page 343 of the 1902 BCM.

So here we have a writer pointing his readers from the Lee game to the Newman game thinking it is the same game. A later writer may recognise the Lee game and reverse them by taking the moves from the Newman game and thinking it was Lee's game.

I looked through later editions of the BCM but could find nobody correcting him.

(BTW the BCM 1906 page 290 mentions that Dr Tarrasch treated Pillsbury for his illness adding 'so we believe'.)

The sequence of moves is classed as an opening trap.

I knew I had seen it before. The Newman game is trap no.111 in Znosko-Borovsky's 'Traps on the Chessboard.' published in 1938. The cute win is given in the notes but again no names.

'Traps on the Chessboard.' is an updated version of 'Pitfalls on the Chessboard' by Grieg published 1910. I have the 1920 edition and the Pillsbury - Newman game with Qf3 is in the notes is on page 47 again no names.

BCM 1955 has a review for the 'Art of Checkmate' which is where the names of Lee and Newman have been swapped over and the cute finished added.

The reviewer (B.H.) likes the book but finds one error.

The call Blackburne 'James Harry Blackburne. His name was 'Joseph Henry Blackburne'

(where did they get 'James Harry' from? find that and you may find Pillsbury - Lee game that never happened.)

The reviewer adds after spotting the mistake something very apt.

"Errors once recorded in Chess Literature have an unhappy knack of multiplying."

That is the 4th error I know about in this book. See:

Where they mix up 'Havana' with 'Hanover'.

They also give Blackburn's dates of birth and death wrong. 1842-1926 according to them. 1841 1924 according to everyone else.

So looking for who started this off we might have to look no further than the authors of 'The Art of Checkmate' themselves.

I'm going to give 'The Art of Checkmate' a good going over, if I find two more errors then that's it I'm blaming them for messing about. James Harry Blackburne is a needless blunder. They call a Checkmate after him and yet fail to get his name DOB and DOD correct.

Anyone else who has a copy feel free to join in.

Edinburgh's first team were clinching the league title 6-0 in a match at the club. When the games were finished I stopped looking and have just come back from the pub helping them celebrate. A good night.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: See above.

Nursing a sight hangover I lay in bed comparing the 'Art of Checkmate' with the 'The Oxford Companion to Chess.'.

The Art/Mate has the Dufresne, Reti and ex-World Champion Em Lasker passing away dates wrong.

I stop looking after finding Lasker.(there maybe more in the book) These lads have been looking at another source, it's not their fault. (who really checks birth/death dates when noting up a game. I never - infact I'd only use them if it was relevant.)

They give the wrong date for 'The Evergreen' played between Anderssen and Dufresne. They give 1854 it was 1852. (game No.29)

Stopped looking for more errors.

Any evidence of tinkering and tampering?

Exercise No.28.
They admit altering the position in Golmayo - Loyd, Paris 1867.

C Golmayo vs Loyd, 1867

So the mate in 8 works. David2009 in the above link actually mentions the book in question in it's original title "L'art de faire mat" (I wonder if were can attribute any of these errors to the translator.)

Interesting is this bit in Mate No.9 Pillsbury - Wolf Monte Carlo 1903.

Pillsbury vs H Wolf, 1903

This position appeared Pillsbury to play.

click for larger view

Pillsbury played 27.Qxb6

Sergeant and Watts give this move !! and the game picked up a Brillo Prize.

Renaud & Kahn correctly point out the two missed forced mates in 5 with 27.e6 or 27.Ne6.

They also give the source. an amateur player James G. Bruce in The American Chess Weekly in 1903.

So it would appear they did some research. But I'm wondering if this Bruce lad also stumbled across Qf3 in the Newman game, mentioned it and a wee bit of tinkering has taken place.

It's still a good book with for the student, loads of good examples. On the whole I tend to roll with printing error but trying to dig out where the Pillsbury - Lee blunder came from was all good fun.

I like blundering hunting and speculating. I hit upon loads of other things whilst searching and have picked up a dozen ideas for future columns. (which is one reason for the quest, I knew I'd stumble across other interesting things.)


One day someone will write the history of Chess Computers and their rise in strength,

All they need do is look at some of the Kibitzing on here and date it. As time goes on the variations on here get longer and longer and more complex.

But there again maybe not because very often during 'their discovery' the name of computer used is never mentioned.

Just an off-topic observation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Pretty incredible. Pillsbury did see both lines.

thanks to all (Sally Simpson, keypusher, jnpope) who unearthed this.

And Dr Tarrasch too, for allowing this on his page.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Tamar,

Sure Tarrasch would not mind too much seeing as it came from one of his disciples (though yes, a tad over-posted)

And of course if I can drop something instructive from the errors then I'm sure the great teacher would nod.

Like a kid playing with a very old toy I started going through this book again.

Nit-Picking 'The Art of Chekmate' No.17 (I've lost count.)

Exercise No. 3 (Maroczy v Unknown 'About 1904')

click for larger view

White to play and mate in two.

No mistake here because as in the book the White King is missing from the diagram.

Nit-picking for the sake of nit-picking? Not at all, we can use this as a double puzzle. So White to play.

1) Find the mate in two.

2) Now Place the White King on the board where it is not in check so there is no mate in two moves.

Mar-07-14  Nosnibor: <Sally Simpson> Just for the record the blindfold game betwee Pillsbury and Newman is number 197 in "Pillsbury`s Chess Career".
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Nosnibor

Correct, I hit a typo ('0' instead of '9') It is game 197. I called it game No.107.

This whole game cursed!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Castleinthesky: Nimzovitch was 24 and Tarrasch wsa 52 at the time this game was played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Nimzo was 27, not 24.
Sep-01-14  Mr. V: A general question: Who, of all today's players, plays most like Siegbert Tarrasch?
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: < Mr. V: A general question: Who, of all today's players, plays most like Siegbert Tarrasch?>

Judged by his vanity, self-esteem and result against the reigning champion - I would say Nakamura.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: There's not many players today you can count on to respond to 1. e4 with either e5 or e6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It should be noted, however, that Naka's play is anything but dogmatic; moreover, even the Praeceptor Germaniae took up the cudgel and adopted the hypermodern methods on occasion, one being his last meeting with his great rival: Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1923.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <perfidious> as Tartakower put it, Tarrasch was re-learning at that time and less dogmatic in practical play than in his teachings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Number of games in database: 945... > ... <46 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic>

So his book 300 Chess Games contains one third of all the games he ever played.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: True, on the assumption that all the games in Dreihundert Schachpartien were serious contests and not in the nature of the exceptions noted above.
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